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House of Commons Hansard #37 of the 37th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was agreement.

Topics

Information Rights WeekStatements by Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Derek Lee Liberal Scarborough—Rouge River, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to inform the House that from April 16 to April 23 the Canadian Library Association is celebrating Information Rights Week.

Information Rights Week is an annual activity designed to bring attention to the importance of information issues and policy in Canadian life.

This year's theme, “You Have the Right to Remain Private”, demonstrates the CLA's priority to protect user privacy and confidentiality. The library profession has a commitment to an ethic of facilitating, not monitoring, access to information.

Libraries across Canada will be playing a leadership role in their communities by planning promotions and hosting programs highlighting confidentiality of user information.

We would like to thank the public libraries for their efforts and wish them success in this year's Information Rights Week.

Status of WomenStatements by Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Marlene Jennings Liberal Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, QC

Mr. Speaker, Canada's foreign policy priorities include eliminating violence against women and helping women become empowered decision makers.

To assist in these goals, the 2004 budget provides an additional $248 million for foreign aid. This is in addition to the $500 million Africa fund and is in keeping with our goal to double international assistance by 2010-11.

We have done this in Senegal, for instance, where CIDA supports a network of organizations that escort and protect women victims of violence, run literacy campaigns and hold legal information clinics.

Canada will maintain its commitment to reduce global poverty and strengthen democracy, justice and social stability, all of which will contribute to improving the situation of women around the world.

JusticeStatements by Members

2 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Diane Ablonczy Canadian Alliance Calgary Nose Hill, AB

Mr. Speaker, a suspected war criminal who entered Canada illegally is now living comfortably in Windsor, over the protests of many Canadians.

An 18-year-old Kosovo woman, Saranda Bogojevci , has travelled to Canada in hopes of reversing Canada's refusal to extradite this man, Dejan Demirovic, to be tried in Serbia.

Demirovic is accused of the massacre of Saranda's mother, two brothers and 11 other family members. Demirovic's alleged partner in this murderous crime has already been convicted and given the maximum sentence.

Saranda Bogojevci says, “I want to know why the Canadian government failed to send Demirovic to Serbia to face justice”.

That is a good question. The students of Bowness High School in Calgary also want an answer.

On behalf of Bowness High School students and other concerned Canadians, I urge the government to stand with the victims of this unspeakable crime. It will send an important message about the value we place on the pursuit of justice.

Canadian Prostate Cancer Research InitiativeStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Robert Thibault Liberal West Nova, NS

Mr. Speaker, prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men. In Canada, at least one in eight men will develop the disease in their lifetime. One in four will die.

The Canadian Prostate Cancer Research Initiative is an alliance comprised of representatives of Health Canada and national cancer organizations that strives to stimulate new efforts in prostate cancer research across Canada and to strengthen existing efforts.

In a co-operative effort, I encourage Health Canada to give consideration and priority to the $10 million funding request to sustain the vital research activities of the Canadian Prostate Cancer Research Initiative.

Research is the key to a cure and the Government of Canada has a critical role to play in ensuring that Canada remains a world leader in health research.

Employment InsuranceStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Guimond Bloc Beauport—Montmorency—Côte-De- Beaupré—Île-D'Orléans, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, in Forestville, I took part in a march by over 2,000 people from the Upper North Shore, Charlevoix and Manicouagan.

In solidarity, most of the businesses had closed for two hours to once again ask the Liberal government to amend the unfair employment insurance system, particularly with regard to workers in seasonal industries.

Not a single Liberal member of Parliament had the courage to represent the government at this demonstration of solidarity. For months now, attempts have been made to meet with the minister responsible, who systematically refuses to meet with the victims of this government's mismanagement.

I invite the Liberal government, which likes to create endless committees and task forces, to stop beating around the bush and implement a real universal employment insurance system. For the men and women of Charlevoix and the Upper North Shore, this is first and foremost a matter of respect, dignity and survival.

The solutions are obvious. The Liberal government must stop campaigning for votes, and this injustice must be resolved before the next federal election. The people of the North Shore and Charlevoix want the legislation changed now.

Volunteer AwardStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Maria Minna Liberal Beaches—East York, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am proud to welcome here today, Ms. Margaret Norquay, a constituent of Beaches—East York and one of this year's recipients of the Therese Casgrain Volunteer Award.

She has been an active and dedicated volunteer for more than 50 years. An advocate for women, children, immigrants and seniors, Margaret Norquay has spent her life working to create a more just and equitable society. I rise today to applaud Margaret Norquay for her invaluable contributions to our community and to the advancement of social justice.

This award is presented every year to two individuals from across the country whose pioneering spirit, social commitment and persistent endeavours have contributed significantly to advancing a cause and the well-being of their fellow citizens.

I ask the House to join me in thanking Margaret Norquay for her contribution.

Income TaxStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Roy H. Bailey Canadian Alliance Souris—Moose Mountain, SK

Mr. Speaker:

Sit down my friend and just relax It's time to pay your income tax. For whether we are great or small They call us one, they tax us all. They tax the collar on the dog And tax the nose-ring on the hog. They tax the wing badge on the hen And tax the feeder in her pen. They tax the baby in his crib They tax his shirt and tax his bib. They tax the diaper on his seat They tax the bootees on his feet. They tax the mattress in his bed They tax the bonnet on his head. Thank God he cannot comprehend That they have taxed him end to end. They tax the coffin where you sleep Enough to make the angels weep. They tax the grave where you are laid And make darn sure the tax is paid. They tax the flowers friends sent for you Because they need the revenue. They tax you all the way through life When you are gone they tax your wife. To all taxmen I wish you well May each of you wind up in--well. Down there no doubt you can relax For the devil needs no income tax.

Holocaust Memorial DayStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Anita Neville Liberal Winnipeg South Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, yesterday I, along with others in the Winnipeg Jewish community and members of the larger community, were present on the grounds of the Manitoba legislative buildings to commemorate the Holocaust Memorial Day, Yom ha-Shoah.

It was a day of much significance. It was the first national Holocaust Memorial Day, a day that came about because of the efforts of all parties in the House of Commons.

We know that between 1933 and 1945 during the Nazi regime, the shift of anti-Semitism moved from speechmaking to policymaking, from policy to persecution, to ghettoization, and to the systematic mass murders at the camps. It was a process fed by many factors, not the least of which was what one historian described as “upon the collaborators far beyond the German border, and...upon the indifference of bystanders in every land”.

It is imperative that we remember that hatred of Jews and the resurgence of anti-Semitism at home and abroad is a malignancy that ultimately encompasses all vulnerable groups. It is the responsibility of all us to fight this anti-Semitism, intolerance and racism wherever and however it is manifested.

South AfricaStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, on April 27, South Africans will celebrate 10 years of freedom and an end to apartheid in their country.

The African National Congress and Nelson Mandela's successor, Thabo Mbeki, have just won a third landslide victory. And another reason to celebrate: almost 33% of South African parliamentarians are women.

South Africa faces daunting challenges, devastating poverty, the ravages of HIV-AIDS and an enormous gap between wealthy elites and the rest of its citizens but they are determined and courageous people.

Like Canada's honorary citizen, Nelson Mandela, South Africans inspire us with their commitment to justice and reconciliation.

Canada's New Democrats stand in solidarity with proud South Africans on their historic achievements.

SudanStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Francine Lalonde Bloc Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, is history repeating itself? Ten years after the genocide in Rwanda, the international community continues to sit passively by as the situation in Sudan deteriorates. The situation continues to grow worse in Darfur in western Sudan for one million refugees who are in the grip of a humanitarian disaster that may spin out of control. Famine and epidemics threaten the region and the upcoming rainy season has people fearing the worst.

According to the UN, this situation is the result of the ethnic cleansing strategy engaged in by the Karthoum-backed Arab militia as they commit murder and rape, force people to relocate, and destroy villages, food and agricultural resources.

Violence has also resumed in the Upper Nile region, where 50,000 people have fled their villages in the past month because of systematic attacks against civilians by the government-backed militia.

“Never again,” we said after the Holocaust and after Rwanda. Canada must ask the Security Council to address this issue.

Holocaust Memorial DayStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Elinor Caplan Liberal Thornhill, ON

Mr. Speaker, this week, as Canadians remember the horrors of the Holocaust and the Rwandan genocide, we also understand the evil consequences of remaining silent when hate confronts our society.

As the Prime Minister rightly said, “hate-motivated crimes are an assault on all Canadians”.

Last week the hon. Minister of Justice visited my riding of Thornhill. He met with members of the community, religious and elected leaders. He visited both the Jaffari Islamic Mosque and Temple Har Zion next door.

These two religious institutions have set a concrete example of the Canada we want. The mosque and the synagogue share their driveways and parking lots. All those who stood on that driveway made a commitment. There will be no acceptance of bigotry, racism and hate in this country. We are taking action together. We will not remain silent. We have learned from the lessons of history.

Volunteer AwardsStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

James Moore Canadian Alliance Port Moody—Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, volunteering is one of the most noble acts of citizenship and philanthropy in our society. It is offering time, energy and skills of one's own free will to the betterment of others without any presumption of return or reward. Volunteers impact virtually every aspect of society including health, education, social services, youth, sports and recreation, culture, the arts and the environment.

While their contributions are undeniable, volunteers are rarely adequately recognized for their deeds.

Tonight the city of Port Coquitlam will host its annual volunteer awards dinner as a gesture of appreciation for all the hard work that volunteers have contributed to making Port Coquitlam one of the greatest places to call home. I regret that duties here in Ottawa will prevent me from attending tonight's event, where mayor Scott Young and the city will say, on behalf of all of Port Coquitlam, “thank you” to all the volunteers who have contributed to strengthening our community.

I want to personally thank all volunteers for helping build our strong community. Their efforts are greatly appreciated and are examples of what fine citizenship in a country like ours really should be all about.

Canadian YouthStatements by Members

April 20th, 2004 / 2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Claude Duplain Liberal Portneuf, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to join with my colleague, the member for Brome—Missisquoi, in acknowledging the presence of 12 young students from the riding of Brome—Missisquoi who have distinguished themselves in various ways.

Some were winners in Expo-Science Bell, including Élodie Nora-Gemme, who took the top prize for the Eastern Townships region; others won distinction in a literary competition, “Le français, un passeport international”, including the national winner, Sabrina Coupal Harnois; and finally, Kate Gasser, who won the Governor General's Medal.

My heartfelt congratulations go out to them all. They are a fine example of the drive and excellence of our young people. Their success is to their credit and their future is very promising. Canada can be proud of its young people.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the documents obtained today show that this Prime Minister gave contracts to his political friends while he was Minister of Finance. The Prime Minister had the gall to tell Canadians that he saw nothing and knew nothing. Not only did he see everything and know everything, he was the one who created the precedent of breaking the rules.

How can this Prime Minister look Canadians in the eyes and imagine that they trust him?

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the contract to which I believe the Leader of the Opposition is referring was awarded by the Conservative government before we came to power.

In addition, once in office, we asked to have an open tendering process, which we eventually obtained, after a year.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister told us that he saw nothing and that he knew nothing. The documents we have today show that the finance department was the first to break the contracting rules, to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars, to benefit the Prime Minister's political allies at Earnscliffe before 1996, laying the groundwork for the sponsorship scandal.

Does this not show that the father of this scandal is not Jean Chrétien, it is this Prime Minister?

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, it is not clear to me what documents the hon. gentleman is referring to, but in fact, any of the documents that have thus far been referred to in the House or in the committee show indeed that the rules were not violated. As the hon. gentleman will know, beginning in December 2002, those rules were changed in a dramatic way to increase competition and to eliminate any potential political role.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, I will be happy to share documents with the minister later which reference his own attempts to get sole source contracts.

A public works memo from Warren Kinsella dated July 24, 1995 documented rule breaking by the Prime Minister. It said that finance department contracts “were conducted...contrary to cabinet-approved guidelines. This is simply unacceptable”.

The Prime Minister himself was actively engaged in a contract scheme, so why did the Prime Minister tell Canadians he knew nothing about this practice?

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, earlier in this House there have been references made to memoranda from the former minister's staff. That memoranda clearly indicated that the minister's office was arguing for more competition, not less, and arguing for it sooner, not later. That in fact is the case.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, that is not the case but I would sure like to debate it with the Prime Minister himself.

The Prime Minister told us he was mad as hell, yet Chuck Guité told him in July 1995 about his own contracting practices the following: “if escalated, it could become an embarrassment to the government”.

How can the Prime Minister claim to be mad as hell now about this practice?

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, first of all, the reference is incorrect, but the fact is that the Earnscliffe contract was one that was inherited by the new government. When we took office, we inherited it from the old Conservative government of which the Leader of the Opposition was a member. As soon as we took office, we asked to have open tender contracts. That is eventually, about a year later, what happened. We followed the rules.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, Mr. Guité's memo indicates the scope of the work was written in a way that favoured the incumbent Earnscliffe. The scope was biased to one firm. The Prime Minister did no such thing. In memos from Chuck Guité, David Dingwall, Warren Kinsella back nine years, and these are the Prime Minister's own people, they indicate he did not just sign the cheques. He knew the rules were being broken. He participated in their being broken and he made sure his friends got the contracts.

Why should Canadians trust anything he says on this now?

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, open public tenders may be broken rules according to the opposition, but that is the way that an open and transparent government ought to operate and that is the way that we operated.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, during the watch of the now Prime Minister, the Department of Finance deliberately favoured Earnscliffe, a company with close ties to the Prime Minister, contrary to cabinet-approved guidelines. The executive assistant to the Minister of Public Works spoke out against this in July 1995.

How, under these circumstances, can people have any confidence in the Prime Minister, when he claims to want to do things differently, yet the rules for awarding contracts were bent to benefit his buddies, on his watch at Finance, exactly as they were in the sponsorship scandal?

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, documents have already been tabled in this House that clearly indicate what my office called for, namely open and transparent bids.

This is a contract inherited from the Conservative government. The first thing we did afterward was to call for open bids, and we got them a year later.